No Aliens, No Funding: SETI Shuts Down Search

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON April 28th, 2011

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The infamous Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute has suspended its Allen Telescope Array because of lack of funding. The renowned Allen Telescope Array is a field of radio dishes, some 300 miles north of San Francisco, that scan the skies for signals from aliens (extraterrestrial intelligent lifeforms).

The telescopes were a joint effort of SETI and University of California-Berkeley’s Radio Astronomy Lab and were successfully privately funded, up until now, by donors such as Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, NASA and the National Science Foundation. This private funding allowed SETI to raise $50 million to build the 42 twenty feet-wide telescopes that spread across a field in San Francisco.

In an April 22 letter to donors (pdf), SETI Institute CEO Tom Pierson said that last week the array was put into hibernation state, which means it is no longer functioning, because of inadequate government support.

However, the hibernation is expected to be temporary as SETI tries to revive itself by collecting $5 million which it needs to restore its operations. It is speculated that it could be revived in 2013.

The news is a real disappointment for many optimist astronomers and ‘UFO/Alien/Extraterrestrial Life’ enthusiasts as 2011 was expected to be a banner year for the group because of revelation of locations of over 1000 possible Earth-like planets by recent space probe missions where the array could have had scanned for signs of the extraterrestrial civilizations.

Now only time will decide SETI’s future.

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